Gig Economy Project – Greece: E-food concedes to riders demands in “huge victory”

Major strike and consumer boycott has not only halted E-Food’s plans to stop employing the riders, it has strengthened the security of the riders’ contracts

The Gig Economy Project, led by Ben Wray, was initiated by BRAVE NEW EUROPE enabling us to provide analysis, updates, ideas, and reports from all across Europe on the Gig Economy. If you have information or ideas to share, please contact Ben on

This series of articles concerning the Gig Economy in the EU is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Andrew Wainwright Reform Trust

E-food concedes to riders demands in “huge victory” in Greece

Major strike and consumer boycott has not only halted E-Food’s plans to stop employing the riders, it has strengthened the security of the riders’ contracts

Greece’s largest food delivery platform has folded under the pressure of a major riders’ strike and a large online consumer boycott, accepting the demand of the workers for unlimited contracts.

The announcement on Thursday [23 September] was a complete U-turn from one week earlier, when the company sent out a message to its riders stating that they would not have their contracts renewed, and instead would have to work on a ‘freelance’ basis with E-Food.

Not only has the company backed down on seeking to make its riders self-employed, it has agreed to unlimited contracts, whereas previously rides were hired for just a three-month fixed-term basis, which created insecurity and fear that the company could decide not to renew at any time.

The victory followed an unprecedented four-hour work stoppage on Wednesday of E-Food riders, said to be the largest ever mobilisation in the sector in Greece, with between 1000-1500 riders protesting on the streets of Athens. Before the strike, a viral #cancel_efood campaign on social media saw thousands of customers delete the app, and the company’s rating on Google fall from 4.5 to 1 star.

The Attica Food and Tourism Trade Union and the Assembly of Base Workers of Bicycle Drivers

announced late last night that a planned second strike today [24 September] will still go ahead despite the victory, with the Attica Union stating that “the massiveness of tomorrow’s 24-hour strike, which we are organising with our unions, will ensure that what the company has announced will be put into practice!!!”

They added: “The strike, following the company’s complete folding and the acceptance of the unions’ demands for open-ended contracts and an end to arbitrary evaluations, marks the beginning of the next period”.

The Panhellenic Federation of Food and Tourism Workers (POETT) described the agreement as a “huge victory”.

We immediately adopted the just demands of the workers, we called two mobilisations, where the distributors participated en masse, took their fate in their hands and we had this result,” POETT stated.

The impressive sight of a motorcade of red bikes and mopeds has once again filled the streets of Athens on Friday. One on-the-ground report from Wednesday’s strike said chants included “solidarity is a weapon of the workers – war on the war of the bosses”, and speakers at the rally stated “we will not change profession, we will change the profession”.

The victory of the riders is a major blow to the centre-right Greek Government New Democracy, which has just introduced a new Labour Law making it easier for platforms to hire workers on a ‘self-employed’ basis rather than with employee contracts.

Labour minister Manos Hatzidakis has claimed that his new Law had no impact on the decision of E-Food, which is owned by German multi-national Delivery Hero, to seek to scrap employment contracts, but this has been derided by the opposition.

Shadow Labour Minister, Mariliza Xenogiannakopoulou, has said that the Law “establishes a presumption that the employment contracts of service providers on the platforms are not dependent labor. That is, it establishes a presumption that the distributors are freelancers and are not covered by labour law for their rights.”

On 8th of December, the EU Commission will announce its proposals for legislation on platform workers which will be binding on all member-states, and is expected to include a legal presumption of employment.

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